Try to keep up

West coast comedian Moshe Kasher heard this great joke the other day, but he thinks you probably wouldn’t get it.

Comedian Moshe Kasher looks like a gay Hitler. His words, not ours.

Photo courtesy Robyn Von Swank

Comedian Moshe Kasher looks like a gay Hitler. His words, not ours.

Andrew Penkalski

 

What: Moshe Kasher

When: June 27 through July 2 (8 p.m. weekdays, 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. weekends)

Where: Acme Comedy Club (708 N. First Street)

Comedian and Oakland native Moshe Kasher has traversed the self-deprecating avenue of humor. He mocks his comb-over hairstyle âÄî a cut he refers to as the Gitler (thatâÄôs gay Hitler). He pokes fun at his diminished masculinity and oft-questioned heterosexuality. But he can take it, because Kasher is confident heâÄôs plenty smarter than you are.

âÄúI donâÄôt think itâÄôs an undercutting arrogance. I just think IâÄôm telling the truth about how IâÄôm better than everybody,âÄù the 31-year-old comic joked. âÄúI think IâÄôm simultaneously better and worse than everybody, so I think that makes me close to normal.âÄù

KasherâÄôs holier-than-thou approach to the microphone functions as a transparent element of his shtick, and that is part of the techniqueâÄôs greatest strength. His 2009 album, âÄúEveryone You Know is Going to Die, and Then You Are!âÄù is riddled with hyperbolic tirades against the cultural inanity of everything from homophobia to dollar-store pregnancy tests to Modesto, Calif.

âÄúMy standup is incredibly insincere in a good way,âÄù he said. âÄúThe truth is, as cynical of a person as I am, IâÄôm also a very sincere person.âÄù

Kasher, whose résumé currently remains standup-oriented, has remained persistent in creative digressions. His comedy album, which is largely comprised of live material, is also blended with a collection of studio-recorded pieces. While his stage material is delivered in a breezy vernacular, his recorded spoken-word shows KasherâÄôs ability to deftly construct dizzyingly expansive monologues âÄî most notably the pubic-hair existentialism of âÄúThe Power of the White Pube.âÄù Recorded pieces supplement the traditional comedy record in a way that Kasher sees as vital.

âÄúI remember as a kid listening to Adam SandlerâÄôs records and getting a lot of joy out of those things,âÄù he said. âÄúI have always felt sort of uncomfortable with the concept of selling a person the set that they just watched.âÄù

Kasher isnâÄôt slowing down in his efforts to demonstrate his jack-of-all-trades quality. Next March he will release his memoir, the proudly titled âÄúKasher in the Rye.âÄù All punnery aside, the name aptly captures the comedianâÄôs intimate approach toward his own adolescence. Kasher grew up with two deaf parents and spent the bulk of his early teenage years in a revolving door of arrests, rehab stays and mental institutions. ItâÄôs a shift toward personal sincerity that most comics tend to keep an armâÄôs length away.

âÄúMy tongue is definitely stuck in my cheek the whole time. IâÄôm not trying to write a crazy after-school special of book. IâÄôm trying to write something thatâÄôs assured and funny,âÄù Kasher said, âÄúAnd also theoretically impactful and touching.âÄù

It begs the question as to whether his personal biography will reform the lofty condescension of his standup routines. Regardless, Kasher hopes to continue occupying both worlds.

âÄúI want to be a person thatâÄôs able to do it all. I like my standup the way that it is. I like the cheeky arrogance, and I like its insincerity,âÄù he said, âÄúbut I also like to be a person thatâÄôs able to show different aspects of what I do.âÄù